Tablet PC A Win For Gateway

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For solution providers looking to get on the Tablet PC bandwagon but who are hesitant to do so because of the high cost of the devices, the Gateway M275 Tablet Notebook series could be the answer.

One of the most robust Tablet PCs the CRN Test Center has seen, the M275 is priced at $1,799,only slightly higher than comparable high-end notebooks. If judged as a notebook alone, the M275 is a powerhouse, with its two spindles, 14.1-inch XGA TFT Active Matrix display, 1.4GHz Pentium M processor and CD-RW/DVD drive. Throw in the Windows XP Tablet PC edition, pen input, swivel digitizer screen and related capabilities, in a beautiful package that is easy to use, and the M275 is one gem of a unit.

The M275 includes a 40-Gbyte hard drive expandable to 60 Gbytes, 256-Mbyte DDR SDRAM expandable to 1,024 Mbytes, a mini FireWire port, two USB 2.0 ports and a PC card slot. Connectivity is provided via an 802.11b wireless networking card, 10/100 Ethernet and V.92 56K modem. A particularly useful feature is the Memory Card Reader, which accepts Secure Digital, Smart Media, Memory Stick and MultiMedia cards.

The M275 is a hefty 5.7 pounds and measures 12.60 inches wide by 10.83 inches deep by 1.10 inches high. While cumbersome to lug around, it's great for office workers who want the choice of keyboard or pen. Microsoft Works 7.0 is included, but Office 2003 is available for an additional fee.

Gateway had been selling a slate-style Tablet PC built by Austin, Texas-based Motion Computing and will continue to do so. But its latest goal was to create a convertible-style Tablet PC with the broadest audience possible, and it achieved that in the M275.

Gateway unveiled the M275 series last week during the grand re-opening of its flagship retail store in New York, one of the 190 stores the company also touts as meeting places for solution providers and their customers. Gateway has renewed its channel focus, as it tries to fuse the gap between the retail market, in which it has thrived for years, and the channel, which Gateway hopes will drive sales into the SMB and digital home markets.

VINCENT A. RANDAZZESE contributed to this story.

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